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4.32  ·  Rating details ·  405 ratings  ·  28 reviews
The first poetry collection by D. A. Powell since his remarkable trilogy of Tea, Lunch, and
Cocktails, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award

so many of the best days seem minor forms of nearness
that easily falls among the dropseed: a rind, a left-behind
—from "no picnic"

In these brilliant new poems from one of contemporary poetry's most intriguing,
Hardcover, 79 pages
Published February 17th 2009 by Graywolf Press (first published February 3rd 2009)
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Average rating 4.32  · 
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 ·  405 ratings  ·  28 reviews

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Aug 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry-poetics
Jesus, this "barbershop talc" poem. It's about a certain type of overgroomed gay man, and it's so funny and brutal I want to quote the whole thing. The first line, "the only place left to shave is inside your ears," is right-off-the-bat really funny and suggestive: the gay addressee is advancing in years, maybe, and in denial about it. The line also implies a kind of tone-deafness or obtuseness.

OK and the last four lines:

"you serve yourself like a creamy dessert
smooth, remarkably smooth, somebod
James Murphy
Nov 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
D. A. Powell's verse succeeds through an animated lyricism and language that skates through pirouettes and the occasional triple toe loop to a kind of verbal joy in poems which seem to be mostly about the disappointments of love. Or, at least, love on the run. The poems in Chronic remind me a little of Whitman. Powell, though, writes more explicit homosexual themes. He uses the long line for the most part while achieving the lyrical rather than building toward anthems. Uncapped and unpunctuated ...more
Apr 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Tiffany by: Jan Beatty
Shelves: poetry
I read D.A. Powell's Chronic slowly; I felt like I needed to savor the poems. I found myself making notations on many of the poems, trying to label what was going on in the craft. Such amazing work with such detailed craft: sound, word choice, line endings, syntax manipulation, capitalization, punctuation, white space, not to mention the subject matter and importance of his voice.

I feel like I can really learn a great deal from him as a poet, particularly because with all of the preciseness of
Feb 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The subject matter in D. A. Powell's Chronic is often grim, serious: Section names call to mind illness ("Initial C," "Chronic," "Terminal C"), and homelessness and destruction to the environment reappear throughout the collection. And yet Powell does not use these poems as occasions to pump a fist into the air and rile the masses: They're poems. Artful. Crafted. He tips his hat to accepted norms of syntax and punctuation, even as he does his own thing--for example, leaving off punctuation that ...more
Luis Correa
Feb 21, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
Never before have I stayed up to finish reading a collection of poetry. Though I don't really understand three-fourths of the poems, there's something mesmerizing and captivating to the images, the turns of phrase. It's funny too.
May 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Initial C, Terminal C, from sea to sea, this is D.A. Powell's America, encompassing all that is light and dark at once. Republic floored me.
Dec 26, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Chronic illness, chronic pain, chronic life. This book, as its title suggests, is obsessed with time, and eros. A beautiful, edgy, important book. ...more
Nov 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry, pastoral
I read this collection for my thesis on reception of Vergil's Eclogues in 21st century poetry. The last two poems "Corydon & Alexis" and "Corydon & Alexis, Redux" take after Vergil the most, being Powell's own version of Eclogue 2. Most of the poems in this collection describe Powell's experience with the AIDS crisis and his experience with disease and love. The last two poems combine all of these themes together. More than this, though, Powell writes about what does and doesn't last and endure. ...more
Aug 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Why has no one told me to read Powell? This is a dense book, full of ideas, craft, astonishing and well-timed vocabulary, honesty, cruel humor, sly wit. I love what he does with line breaks and space on the page, as well as sound and image. Paricularly enjoyed crematorium at sierra view cemetery next to the high school, clutch and pumps - so hilariously cruel, both poetic and painterly - sprig of lilac (wow), and coal of this unquickened world, but the whole collection is great. Fantastic titles ...more
Brett Dupré
Jul 09, 2017 rated it liked it
Impressive sculptures of ice.
Aug 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
So so so so so good!
May 22, 2020 rated it liked it
Though I like inventive imagery, these poems felt too abstract, without enough foundation to truly make their imagery work. They did weave well together as a collection, which offset some of this difficulty, but certainly not all of it.

Poems I would signal out are:
* crematorium at sierra view cemetery next to the high school
* continental divide
* gospel on the dial, with intermittent static
* meditating upon the meaning of the line "clams on the halfshell and rollerskates" in the song good times b
Sep 17, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 800s
LJ said of these poems, "read them to see where poetry is going." I don't know; I wasn't totally impressed. Then again I may not be impressed with where poetry is going.

The illness and sex and death just seemed like shabby worries, an anxiety that I wanted to dose with anxiolytics instead of poetry. All the poems end loosely, without punctuation, which felt affected.

Many had wonderful long titles, though. I would keep the titles as brief poems in themselves and nix the corpora:
"crematorium at
Ryo Yamaguchi
Jun 29, 2010 rated it liked it
I really wanted to like this, and I did at first. His talent is irrefutable, and when I felt him in more designy shoes, as in the more formalist poems in the opening pages, I connected more. But once he started engaging his subject matter, mostly, environmental and health devastation, I found the poems to move much less certainly, much too conscious of and forcing themselves toward the larger thematic concerns of the collection. Perhaps I'm biased against strong subjects in collections, but I'd ...more
Nov 21, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2012, poetry
4.5 stars, to be more precise. This book didn't hit me quite as hard in the gut as Cocktails did, but Powell's poems in this collection are still both stunningly crafted and socially relevant— "california poppy" and "republic" were two of my favorites. I'm already looking forward to re-reading Chronic.
Sep 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, poetry
This is one of those books that makes me want to stop writing poetry all together because Powell's poems are so strong and well crafted without being pretentious or generic. These poems are witty and nuanced, and they pulled me back in to reread them a few times. There's so much going on here. Just a great collection.
sarah louise
Mar 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
as is to be expected from Powell, this book is entirely. worth. the. read.

classically-crafted and -informed, bodily, a little dirty (in all its meanings), often loving. there is no pretention, there is a ton of mastery, there is a lot, a lot of honesty.
Feb 26, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
Because I continue to love "Cocktails," the first Powell book I read, so wholly and utterly and so, I will like never love another book by him as well. It's abiding: this early devotion.
Jul 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
hell. yeah.
Aug 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
A master of line, each one straight-forward talk, a don't-play-with-me tone.
Mar 18, 2012 rated it liked it
about half-way through he decided to quit bunting and start swinging...
Feb 17, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Most contemporary poetry is pretentious nonsense.

This may be the apotheosis of that tendency.
Jul 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
"Daylight, don't leave me now, I haven't done with you --
Nor that, in this late hour, we still cannot make peace."

These poems are such a joy to read!
Joey Gamble
Jan 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
A book about endings, and our lack of them—"as if the stars go out when we shut our sleepy eyes"
Apr 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013
Deeply interesting poetry, both in construction and subject matter. Very much worth re-reading after sitting with it for awhile. Powell is a poet to watch.
May 06, 2010 marked it as to-read
Shelves: poetry
May 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: po-eh-tree, favorites
Not sure why I waited so long to read this after the CPR release party... new favorite !!
David Scott
Jun 12, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
One of the best contemporary poets out there. Amazing use of language.
Carolyn Hembree
rated it it was amazing
Dec 28, 2012
Michael Lloyd-Billington
rated it really liked it
Nov 13, 2016
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D. A. Powell is the author of Tea, Lunch, Cocktails, Chronic and Useless Landscape, or A Guide for Boys, which received the National Book Critics Circle Award in Poetry in 2013.

Repast, Powell's latest, collects his three early books in a handsome volume introduced by novelist David Leavitt.

A recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, Powell li

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